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Multiple NIFA AFRI Recipients Appointed to 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Nifa Authors
Matt Browning, Public Affairs Specialist

Last month, the United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the appointment of 20 nationally recognized nutrition and public health experts to serve on the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.  

The committee includes five current and past awardees of Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). AFRI is the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences, established by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and re-authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.  

NIFA provides AFRI grants to support research, education and Extension activities in six Farm Bill priority areas. 

  • Plant Health and Production and Plant Products 

  • Animal Health and Production and Animal Products 

  • Food Safety, Nutrition and Health 

  • Bioenergy, Natural Resources and Environment 

  • Agriculture Systems and Technology 

  • Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities 

AFRI-funded science is vital to meeting food, fiber and fuel demands as the world’s population races toward a projected 9.8 billion by 2050, concomitant with diminishing land and water resources and increasingly variable climatic conditions. In addition, AFRI programs help develop new technologies and a workforce that will advance our national security, our energy self-sufficiency and the health of Americans. 

The five appointed members to the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and their respected NIFA-funded AFRI projects, include the following: 

  • Dr. Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey: This multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-state, integrated research, education and Extension project advanced and expanded the progress of HomeStyles toward reducing risk of childhood overweight and obesity. HomeStyles, an in-home family intervention, enables and motivates English- and Spanish-speaking parents to shape home environments and weight-related lifestyle practices to prevent childhood obesity. 

  • Dr. Heather Eicher-Miller, Purdue University: This new project seeks to determine the long-term (1-year) effect of direct, adult-focused SNAP-Ed on dietary quality and household food security among children (5-18 years) of adult (≥18 years), low-income Indiana SNAP-Ed participants and create and evaluate supplementary SNAP-Ed materials to improve food security and dietary intake in food insecure households with children. 

  • Dr. Jennifer Orlet Fisher, Temple University: This project worked to prevent obesity among low-income preschoolers by reducing excessive energy intakes from foods high in solid fats and added sugars. To achieve this goal, the project systematically translated basic behavioral science around child portion sizes to clinic-based and then community-level nutrition education programming for low-income mothers of young children. 

  • Dr. Deanna Hoelscher, The University of Texas at Austin: The goal of this Texas A&M University project was to use family-focused garden, nutrition and physical activity programs to reduce childhood obesity. Hoelscher was part of a team who implemented and evaluated the impact of two intervention programs – Junior Master Gardener and Walk Across Texas – designed to improve physical activity and eating behaviors of children. 

  • Dr. Angela Odoms-Young, Cornell University: This project, awarded during Odoms-Young’s tenure with the University of Illinois, worked to improve diet and activity in minority, low-income children and their parents/caregivers through "Hip Hop to Health," a nutrition and physical activity obesity prevention program. Odoms-Young’s team evaluated the intervention by comparing changes in body mass index (BMI) in minority, low-income children ages 3 to 5 years old, randomized to either Hip Hop to Health (HH) or a general health intervention (GH). Results at follow-up showed that children in HH had smaller changes in BMI compared to children in the GH control group. HH was the first efficacy trial to document positive effects on BMI in low-income, preschool children. With AFRI funding, Odoms-Young and team adapted, implemented and disseminated this evidence-based obesity prevention intervention. 

The 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will be tasked with reviewing the current body of nutrition science and developing a scientific report that includes its independent, science-based advice for HHS and USDA to consider. The committee’s review, along with public comments on its scientific report and agency input, will help inform HHS and USDA as they develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2025-2030.  

Throughout the committee’s term, members will collaborate during public and subcommittee meetings, participate in the development of evidence review protocols, review and synthesize evidence, present scientific findings, consider public comments, and develop and submit the scientific report. 

Learn more about AFRI and the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Top image: Little girls cooking together in modern kitchen. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products
Agriculture systems and technology
Animal health and production and animal products
Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
Agriculture economics and rural communities

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